A Little About EMS, Quality, GEM, MONOC And More

EMS sign in snow_wm(With the much talked about decision of privatizing the EMS Department, a reader submitted the following comment, containing information about various local departments. Please note, TLS has not verified all the information submitted). There are actually 4 ambulances for the Jackson First Aid Squad, plus a captain’s car. They run from 6P to 5A Sunday through Saturday. Quality Medical runs from 5A to 6P Sunday through Saturday, and staffs a minimum of 3 ambulances in town. Whenever an ambulance is dispatched to a call, another one is sent in to town.

Only twice have I ever seen Lakewood EMS even possibly in Jackson, and on both instances, it was because the call was on the border of Lakewood and Jackson. Never has it been for mutual aid, to my knowledge.

The EMTs on Lakewood EMS have the same training as any paid ‘transportation’ EMT in this state, or even as any volunteer EMT in this state (provided that the volunteer actually went through the EMT course and took the test).

When a company bids in on a contract, they specify exactly how they would intend to run that contract. For example, when Quality bid in on Jackson, they promised 3 ambulances, with a 0 dollar cost to the township itself, accepting insurance company payments as payment in full for Jackson residents, and not pursuing collections beyond a letter in the mail for Jackson residents. They also agreed that volunteer officers could take command of a scene if present on MCIs.

I’m not entirely sure if GEM ambulance is actually putting a bid in for the contract, but if they are, they’re located right out of Lakewood (their office is practically across the street from Kimball), which actually puts them in the right position for such a contract. Their trucks go in and out of there on a daily basis. Putting dedicated trucks in the town for 911, plus having their base of operations in town (meaning ambulances are constantly going in and out of there anyway) makes them an ideal candidate.

I am not saying that the paid guys currently working for Lakewood are incapable of doing their jobs — they do their jobs well. They are also well paid for it.

Your Lakewood EMS guys are most likely making at least $2.00/hr more than your average EMT in the area who works for a private company (private company EMTs, assuming no o/t, at a rate of 13/hr, are making 27,040 before taxes, as compared to the salaried EMTs in Lakewood, who honestly are probably making closer to 50,000 a year) . They also hold far better benefits. Honestly, neither salary is really substantial enough to provide for cost of living in this state, which points to a fact — EMTs in this state aren’t paid nearly enough. They’re the life savers, the ones you call in an emergency to start treatment while you’re going to the ER. They break their backs, take on liability, and put their own lives at risk for others, and get paid next to nothing for doing so. Paramedic salary isn’t much better. Your garbage men make more than an EMT and Medic salary combined. Might be something ya want to keep in mind next time ya call an ambulance, and then yell at them for taking so long when they’re stuck with delays in dispatch, clueless, ignorant people on the road, and the inability to grab a meal for the last 10 hours because either their bank account is empty, or they’ve been going non-stop since their shift started. Any EMT who says they do it for the money is either an idiot, or a liar — they do it to help people.

One thing of note — a few of the EMTs on your Lakewood trucks, though, also work as paramedics at other agencies. They do have a higher training in that regard, but they cannot use it, because when they’re on that Lakewood truck, they’re operating under a BLS license. That, you can most likely thank the state of NJ for (and the NJSFAC), as they have rules in place that require a certificate of need, which pretty much creates a monopoly environment. MONOC has a monopoly over Monmouth and Ocean counties as a whole, and also operates in Union, for example.

You take a good thing, like people willing to help others in medical emergencies, and throw in politics and legalities, and suddenly everything goes wild.

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  1. Lakwood paid EMS make 75k a year not 50k, on the other hand lakewood PD make between 90k and 180k. Want to know why your taxes are high???

  2. who ever wrote this article clearly has some knowledge of what might go on in the ems world he is very much incorrect on many of his point. First point is that yes the ems department does not go in to jackson for mutual aid, the lakewood first aid is called in for mutual aid by jackson and it happened twice last month alone. You also talked about command on an mci but the emts are only required to have ics100,200, and 700 which are all courses that can be done online and could copy and paste the answers on the test which is taken online. The lems all are required ics 300 and ics 400 which are real in class room classes and take about 24 hours each of training. On top of that the Ems department are all trained in hazmat awarness, light extrication, and many more that I personaly am not sure of. My point is, spin it the way you want but these people have way more experiance and training then your typical 19y old emt that does transports. Does every monoc employee know about hazmat. We have an industrial park in lakewood which has had at least 2 large sclae major hazmat situations in the past 3 years. How many of them have trained for an airplain accident with intrapment? Lakewood EMS has done that. Dont think it could happen?? It did a couple of years ago and we have the lakewood airport. whos to say ot wont again. And when it does i want someone who is trained for that situation there. Bottom line. Langert you need to throw your pride away realize you made a mistake when you thought no one would carr if you did this but we do. Even though we have Hatzolah.

  3. The article was a good comparison, being an EMT with one of these private companies, I can tell you the basic training is the same – 120 hours of EMT school, CPR and a basic incident command class (taken only once). Knowing what is done in Lakewood these people have training that would outshine the average EMT on a transport service. I have taken classes at their EMS building. It is more than just an ambulance in town that makes a good provider. Talk to anyone of these lakewood people and than ask the next transport EMT at Wawa or Dunkin Donuts and see for yourself, I am not lying. These guys are good and would be a sad day if the fathers of the town could not find a way to see this and work to save a group of people who know that town.

  4. Lakewood EMS are the highest paid in the state, even more than Paramedics. With benefits it’s almost double. Lakewood EMS members should form their own company & bid for the contract. Or they may apply for work at the ultimate winner of the bid. There is no justification to continue just because we have paid those higher dollars for all these past years.

  5. You get what you pay for, if Lakewood EMS is done for I’ll drive myself to the hospital. I don’t want anyone that was just hired off the street to work on me.

  6. how many ppl coment with out knowing anything. lems has more than 100 hrs of training more than reg. emt in a gem or quality. they hold classes all the time. stop guessing if u dont know. lakewood residents will lose in the end.. this whole thing = more crime affter they keep billing and start throughing ppl out of there houses. u tell me, pay the lems or more crime. come on ppl wake up b4 its too late

  7. I dont want to comment on any of the politics involved, and really did not want to comment on this, as I do not live in Lakewood. (I did attend Yeshiva in Lakewood and have many friends and family) However, this letter, while touching on an O.K. explanation, the one that really, REALLY bothered me is the statement that the EMT’s from Lakewood EMS and the private ambulance service go through the same training EMT, CPR etc. This is very misleading. This is like saying that a guy with a Bachelors degree in finance and a guy with an MBA from Wharton School of Business go through the same training. The basic requirements are the same-it’s the specialty certifications you get after that seperate the pros from the stretcher jockies. I have been a NJ Certified EMT for over 20 years-having worked in Newark-UMDNJ EMS, transport ambulance (right out of EMT class-no experience necessary, and Over 20 years on 2 different volunteer rescue squads. The major difference in Lakewood EMS EMT’s and the Transport guys are EXPERIENCE!!!!!! Forget all the extra training and certs they have, Lakewood EMS has very rigorous testing standards to get your foot in the door. The transport companies testing is checking the radial pulse. Seriously-there is no experience required. Lakewood EMS EMT’s have a reputation in the EMS world on the highest Madrega. They did not set their rate of pay. I don’t know how much they make, but they deserve every penny. To the guys that say the PD and EMS make too much money: Would you tell your boss that he’s paying you too much, and you want to give him a portion back? Didn’t think so. When was the last time you put your life on the line to save the life of a stranger? Didn’t think so either. Trust me- these are the guys you want coming to help you. They have been there, done that and have superior experience in split second life saving decisions. The transport guys simply done have the experience to make the quick decision when your life depends on it. Remember, you get what you pay for.

  8. #3 Get into an accident where you have to be extricated or have a life emergency where you need the Lakewood EMS and you will be willing to pay a million dollars to be in the hands of these dedicated people. LIFE SAVERS!!!!!!!!! # 9 God bless you and I pray that you are able to get a job with a township. You have told the truth and would I’m sure make a great paid EMT for any township.

    I know you are reading this Mayor Langert. Prove to the residents of Lakewood that you are a Mayor for the whole town. We don’t ask for much. Don’t take away the Lakewood EMS please. Please read the letters that were written to you and do the right thing.

  9. Why can’t the EMS just concede to bring their salaries and benefits closer to the Private industry standards and then this whole issue will go away..

    Hey, I would love for my township to provide us all with great benefits.. but in this bad economic time I’m inclined do with a little bit less..

    I hope this turns out to be a win-win situation rather than a win-lose or lose-win..

  10. I have a hard time believing a mayor who at the community meeting can’t even address what he is refusing to dignify. Is he denying his relationship to GEM or is he denying that privaitization is a done deal. He is hiding something one of them is true or perhaps both.

  11. I appreciate the writer’s attempt to keep the text as non-biased as possible. However, I do not believe the care will be the same. One of the benefits of having a township-ran EMS department is the ability for the police, fire, and EMS to train and run drills together. In the event of a major accident, disaster, fire, etc. operations run faster and are more effective with proper training and knowledge of who you are working with. Different towns have different protocols and you cannot expect someone who works for a transport company for multiple towns to be familiar with all of them. Even if drills were to be conducted quarterly (yeah right) the police officers and fire dept could end up working side-by-side with strangers. The turnover rates for private companies are very high.
    I have worked both volunteer and private EMS. Like someone previously stated, no experience is necessary to work for majority of the private local EMS companies. Experience is what makes someone a better emergency medical technician. You can have the textbook memorized but the hands-on part is what builds your knowledge for this type of work. There are paramedics on the department whom, as stated, can only operate under a BLS license while on the truck. Does this not make them better EMT’s? Especially in a state where the BLS providers determine the necessity of ALS service?
    I am also wondering who will handle extrication being that none of the local private companies are equipped to do so. If I am correct, the Lakewood EMS dept have their own jaws(of life) on the truck. The volunteers do have an extrication team, however, they are currently not available 24/7. Will this service also be outsourced? And at what cost?
    Getting rid of the department would be a great disservice to the residents of this town.

  12. How about all those beautiful brand new garbage trucks that were bought that are too heavy to take to the dump facility and are now wasting space at the public works mansion? Another wast of money.

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